Becoming a member of Kindling is an opportunity to join an exciting and progressive project, that is about creating positive social change. Membership involves joining a team of people who work in a co-operative way, supporting but also challenging each other, to work towards ecological sustainability and social justice.
There are a number of ways to become involved in Kindling, from volunteering with one of our Manchester-based projects, to being an advisor or Founding Supporter, to becoming a member.
What is Membership?
A member of Kindling is someone who is part of the group working to establish the project, and who has a desire to become a future resident (living on-site and working for example; running the Centre for Social Change; being a grower for the market garden, providing social enterprise support or establishing a social enterprise).
In the meantime members are involved in working to turn the vision into reality (by raising funds, identifying land, further market research, etc.), as well as working on projects here in Manchester, that are relevant to Kindling's aims.
Membership brings with it various commitments & responsibilities, as well as benefits:
The minimum requirement for Kindling members is to contribute at least two days a week - for discussion, planning, organisational manage and general house keeping tasks (filing, accounts, updating the website, responding to emails etc.) as well as work to develop Kindling and deliver our current projects.
This time commitment is significant, but we have found that any less means there isn't enough time for discussions, decision making, and practical work to move the project forward whilst keep members equally involved and informed.
Presently, while the project isn't generating adaquate income, the time members contribute is mainly voluntary (except where free lance work is secured).
Evaluation & Feedback process
Evaluation is an invaluable and integral part of being a member of The Kindling Trust. Evaluation is an opportunity to reflect and is used to encourage open debate and discussion of a member’s role: particularly focussing on team membership; work, learning and training and understanding. It is also a chance to review performance and development. It provides an arena for acknowledging achievements and working through difficulties.
Every member of Kindling takes part in the evaluation process once a year. They carry out a written evaluation of themselves, and then the group responds, also in writing, but read out to the person in a group setting.
We see this as an important means of communicating and building relationships with the people you’re working with. It should be a two-way process, ensuring that all those taking part contribute in a supportive and constructive way to make changes where necessary and to resolve problems. It is also a chance to take time to plan ahead and to set personal targets and goals.
A Sustainable Wage
Our future aim is to generate sufficient income to pay all members a sustainable wage. We believe that this involves various considerations including fair and effective use of money; affordability for Kindling in its aim to be independent of grants; sustaining the individual to live a good quality life.
We have currently set this at £8,000 a year, although this may change if we find that we can't live on this, or we may even reduce it once we begin living on site and have lower energy bills! At present our members generate this level of income through freelance work (both through Kindling and found individually).
How Do You Become a Member?
The Application Process
We have a series of questions that we will ask you to answer that are about your views on ecological and social change, your motivations for becoming involved in Kindling, as well as your experience and skills etc.
Once we have read through your answers, we will contact you to arrange an informal meeting. At this, a couple of Kindling members will chat through any further questions we might have for you, and answer any questions you have for us.
We will feed this back to the rest of Kindling, and decide if we are going to invite you to start the probation process. If we decide at any point not to continue this process with you, we will give you feedback as to why this is.
The Probation Process
Each potential member will go through a probationary process (over a period of around a year), to enable the person to see if Kindling is for them and they would like to join on a permanent basis, and visa versa - to enable the group to see if they think the person is right for the project, and they would like to invite them to become a member.
During this probationary period the individual will be expected to:
- Read the induction pack, previous decisions made etc., to help prepare for your first meetings.
- Attend meetings - including weekly working group meetings, and one weekend strategy meetings with all Kindling members.
- Complete a number of voluntary tasks to aid the development of Kindling.
- Participate in self and group evaluation after two months (to see how the induction has gone), and again after six months (to review how you are doing and help shape the next six months), and again at the end of the probation process.
One of the members will be assigned as your mentor during the probation process, to help you find your feet, answer questions, and offer general support.
Deciding If We Are For You
We think it's a good idea to try out volunteering with us on a Manchester-based project, before you decide if you want to apply. Hopefully it'll help us all get to know each other a bit, and you to decide if this is the project for you, before you put in the effort of starting the application process.
Who Are We Looking For?
We are currently looking for people to become members who have a range of skills and experience both to set the project up, and to keep the project running once it's established. This will include:
- Food production on a commercial scale.
- Running the centre for social change (running social change courses, organising courses, working with different groups of people, the logistics of running a centre etc.).
- Providing social enterprise support or running a social enterprise.
We are also very interested in talking to you if you have an idea or plan for a social enterprise, that shares Kindlings principles and aims.